Stocks quoted in this article:
Since touching a 10-year high of $41.50 last week, the shares of Kraft Foods Inc (NASDAQ:KFT - 40.54) have been in consolidation-mode atop the $40.50 level. However, it appears a slew of options speculators are expecting the blue chip to soon extend its longer-term uptrend, as evidenced by yesterday's affinity for calls.
During the course of the session, KFT saw roughly 10,000 calls cross the tape -- representing a 46% increase over its average daily call volume, and doubling the number of KFT puts exchanged. Garnering the most attention was the September 41 call, which saw close to 3,600 contracts traded -- mostly at the ask price, hinting at buyer-driven volume. Plus, call open interest at the soon-to-be front-month strike soared by more than 2,100 contracts overnight, underscoring our theory of newly initiated positions.
By purchasing the calls to open, the buyers are betting on KFT to muscle back atop the $41 level within the next few weeks. Specifically, the volume-weighted average price of the calls was $0.48, indicating that the buyers will profit if KFT surmounts the $41.48 level -- just a hair's breadth from the aforementioned 10-year high -- by September options expiration.
Despite KFT's longer-term ascent, though, yesterday's appetite for calls stands in stark contrast to the current sentiment backdrop among short-term option traders. The stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.02 stands higher than 84% of all other readings of the past year, implying that near-term options traders are more put-heavy than usual at the moment.
Likewise, short interest on the Dow component skyrocketed nearly 53% during the past month. However, these bearish bets still represent just 1.06% of KFT's total available float.
In early trading, the shares of KFT have surrendered 0.2% to linger in the $40.54 vicinity.